BOLTON Council have announced a stellar line up for the 2017 Bolton Food and Drink Festival – including Ainsley Harriot, James Martin and Simon Rimmer.

The festival will be launched by Michelin-starred chef, Michael Caines, who will host a gala dinner to mark the occasion.

It was also announced that Ainsley Harriot will be making his first appearance at the event

The long-time TV chef and Strictly Come Dancing star, said: “I’ve always enjoyed visiting Bolton and I’ve heard great things about this festival – so I can’t wait to come back, get stuck in and meet all the fantastic people.”

As well as performing a live cookery demo, Ainsley will be hosting an afternoon tea for visitors to take part in.

[pullquote]”I love this festival. The people are so welcoming” – James Martin[/pullquote]

From biscuits to beer, the award-winning festival, which is now in its eleventh year, will give punters the chance to sample of the best food the North has to offer over the August Bank Holiday.

Over 200 traders are expected to pitch-up for the speciality food, drink and crafts market as part of the festival.

Organisers say that there will be something for everyone as visitors will also be entertained by live music, street performance and special activities for children – including a ‘pleasure beach’ in the Octagon theatre.

A council spokesman said: “People come back year-on-year and it’s a great way of bringing the community together”

Alongside Ainsley, Sunday Brunch host and Manchester-based restaurateur, Simon Rimmer, will be bringing his popular TV format to Bolton, hosting a ‘Saturday Brunch’ event.

Rimmer last appeared at the event in 2008, when it was much smaller, and says he “can’t wait” to return.

Festival favourite James Martin will also make the short journey across the M62 and return for his ninth appearance. He said: “I love this festival, the people are so welcoming.

“I’ve been doing it for so many years and there is always something new and different to look forward to.”

Describing the event as a “jewel in the crown”, Bolton Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris said: “We have secured the talents of some of the UK’s top celebrity chefs and they are sure to be a hit with the public.

“This event attracts visitors from across the country and continues to help to put Bolton on the map. We always make sure it is fun for the whole family and this year will be no exception.”

For updates, visit the event’s website, Facebook or Twitter.

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